'Monochrome Memories'
Project info

I love nothing better that a good black and white image. I mentally construct all my images as monochromes as I shoot. I never actually plan on making colour images. They are always happy accidents.

I also have a love of layering and complexity (I have a science background) and the works of Idris Khan have always fascinated me as do the tree works of Pep Ventosa. While I understood the technical processes it was not until my dad suddenly died that I engaged with the process. For me it was a way of layering memories (the brain layers memories one image at a time) around my families history with trees.

This led to an unpacking of a raft of imbedded assumptions around what a photo could and couldn't be. It also led me to engage with abstraction. Especially in camera abstraction and this led to an active engagement with colour as a medium of expression.

In reaching colour I came across the works of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky from the 1930's before the advent of colour film. He would make 3 black and white glass plates of the same image shot successively. Each plate was shot using a red, green and blue filter. The plates were covered with a film correspond to the filter used, stacked and a light shone through them to generate a 'false colour' image projection.

This was like all my interests in science, history (memory), monochromes and layering merging to enable the production of a colour image. In the future I will borrow a Leica Monochrome to construct then but for this venture I went through my collection to find images I had planned to create HDR images with. Know myself as I do, I tend only to capture images for a HDR if I have had a connection with the place at the time. I then converted each layer into a black and white image using red, blue and green filters. Then I digitally mapped the Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky process to reassemble the layers...

I was surprised at how much the colour varied from the originals (not unpleasantly), the colour shifts that happen when there is movement in the image and also the happenstance mistakes that happen when you 'cross process' channels.

You might ask yourselves why? Well first and foremost for me it is fun. But it also provides me with a deeper understanding of the history of photography and reminds me how just how inventive early photographers were. Also the playful element of combining processes can lead to new understandings both of the processes available and of constraints we place on ourselves.

My most noticeable observation was that the colours we admire within a scene are the colours that the scene has rejected... We only see the colours on absorbed. Odd, hey!